Friday, 7 July 2017

"gig economy"

IER News Brief 07/07/17

news brief
Friday 07th July 2017

New, damning evidence from several sources has been released on the gig economy this week, just ahead of the expected publication of the Taylor Review.

Yesterday, former Committee Chair for Work and Pensions Frank Field released a report that contained interviews with "gig economy" workers at Parcelforce, DPD and British Car Auctions. He found that workers were being paid less than £2.50 per hour and getting fined hundreds of pounds for being ill.

A quote from a DPD driver republished by the Guardian said: "This isn't self-employment, or employment either. It's a living hell, a nightmare scenario and the government needs to bring in legislation to stop these crooks from ripping off vulnerable people."

Both Taylor and government sources have come out in support of the gig economy by saying that many workers enjoy the "flexibility" it offers them, but further evidence of exploitation this week puts this argument into question.

One study found that people on zero-hours contracts and shift workers are at a greater risk of mental health problems than their peers in stable employment.

Meanwhile, ACAS reported that zero-hours contracts are being used to silence workers who might otherwise assert their rights, and many have been forced onto the contracts rather than choosing insecure work.

The government itself has also been accused of attempting to silence workers this week, as the Justice Secretary applied to the High Court to permanently ban prison officers from industrial actions.

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